History

The origin of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country

MONTSERRAT GÁRATE OJANGUREN
Amiga de Número de la Real Sociedad Bascongada de los Amigos del País

The origin of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country founded in 1764 was the gatherings that took place in the palace of Intsausti, in Azkoitia, at the initiative of the count of Peñaflorida, Xabier Mª de Munibe. This group of enlightened intellectuals and especially Peñaflorida were responsible for the drafting of the "Plan for an economic Society or academy of agriculture, science and practical arts and business", presented in the Legislative Assembly of Gipuzkoa in 1763, a consequence of the interest shown by its authors in promoting the economy of the area. And so Peñaflorida is considered the founder of what would become the Royal Basque Society, although he was not alone.

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The Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country and America

MONTSERRAT GÁRATE OJANGUREN
Amiga de Número de la Real Sociedad Bascongada de los Amigos del País

After the Basque Society was set up, there was an expansion of learned societies, both in Spain and America. Within this movement of expansion of the enlightened spirit overseas, it is striking, moreover, that some members of the various societies of Friends of the Country founded in Santiago de Cuba and Havana, Guatemala or Peru, also belonged to the Basque Society. What is more, the phenomenon of membership to an enlightened set of ideas in those places was particularly significant in the case of Mexico. In this case, they did not set up their own societies of Friends of the Country, but rather a very high number of people joined the Basque Society as distinguished members.

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The Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country and Europe

MONTSERRAT GÁRATE OJANGUREN
Amiga de Número de la Real Sociedad Bascongada de los Amigos del País

The relation between the Royal Basque Society and Europe can be considered in two ways. Firstly, in the influence that foreign societies and academies exercised on the founders. Secondly, the inclusion of many European figures in the Royal Basque Society as distinguished members.

The count of Peñaflorida, founder of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country, knew of the existence and organization of various European societies and academies. His education and trips abroad were instrumental in promoting the creation of the Society. The idea of "uniting a number of zealous patricians to promote the interests of the nation" as Bernardo Ward put it in 1762, was fundamental to the creation of scientific corporations in Ireland, Sweden, France and Tuscany. Their aims, amongst others, were to improve agriculture by applying the results of experiments and observations of its members. Following these examples, the idea of Peñaflorida in creating the Society was precisely to succeed in making it a temple of wisdom to achieve all kinds of benefits to the country, through the cultivation of literature and fine art.

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The Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country and Music: 250 years advocating Musical creation, performance, research and education in the Basque Country

JON BAGÜES ERRIONDO
Amigo de Número de la Real Sociedad Bascongada de los Amigos del País

The Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country has cultivated a strong and ongoing relationship with the art of music all throughout the three different stages of its development. Music was undoubtedly one of the binding factors of the characters that shaped the Society itself from when the festivities were held in Bergara in 1764. Music also played a very prominent role in the pursuits of Society during the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Musicians also contributed to the work undertaken at the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country during the third era.

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DIRECTION OF THE ROYAL BASQUE SOCIEY OF THE FRIENDS OF THE COUNTRY

Palacio Intsausti
Aptdo. 105 – 20720 AZKOITIA
Tel. 943 285 577
E-mail: intsausti.rsbap@gmail.com

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